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IACP Quoted in WSJ Blog: Prescription Drug Costs Rose Faster Than Ever for Many Americans: Report

Wednesday, May 13, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Dagmar Anderson
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Today's Wall Street Journal Blog by Ed Silverman reports on the rising costs of prescription drugs. "The prices for new hepatitis C and cancer treatments are driving the cost of prescription drugs to new highs for more Americans, according to a new report.

Specifically, the estimated number of people in the U.S. who took medicines worth more than $50,000 annually rose 63% last year, to 576,000, up from 352,000 the year before. And the number of Americans who are estimated to be taking at least $100,000 worth of drugs jumped 193% to 139,000 people, from 47,000."

 

More from the WSJ Blog - The report also fingered compounded medicines as another contributing factor to rising spending. Among Americans with annual drug costs of $100,000 or more, the proportion of patients using compounded meds grew 30% in 2014, and the costs for those medicines quadrupled, according to the report. Express Scripts contends these drugs “add little or no value to patient outcomes” and, in some cases, may increase health risks.

We asked the International Academy of Compounding Pharmacists for comment and will pass along any reply. Citing rising costs and allegedly unnecessary use, Express Scripts last year began blocking coverage for approximately 1,000 active ingredients used to make a variety of compounded medicines. A few compounding pharmacies subsequently filed a lawsuit claiming that prescriptions were illegally blocked.

[UPDATE: We received this statement from David Miller, the chief executive at IACP:

 

“The Express Scripts report tells us what other trend data does: that compounded medications have become more popular because physicians and patients increasingly are seeking a tailored therapeutic approach to treating illness. Increasingly, patients need therapies free of allergens, dyes, and other non-essential ingredients...

"What concerns the compounding pharmacist community is ESI's unsupported statement that these important therapies do not have value and ‘put a patient's health at risk.’ Every compounded prescription is determined by a physician to meet a specific patient's needs, is customized by a trained and licensed pharmacist, and always with the patient's health and well-being as the focus.  To state otherwise is a mischaracterization of a longstanding service that benefits millions of patients.”]

 

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